If you follow auto racing at all, you know about the huge motorsports infrastructure that’s grown up over the last 20 years in the Charlotte metro area, a hive of activity that not only involves NASCAR’s top series but also IMSA and IndyCar. Most of the shops and specialty complexes aren’t in the city of Charlotte itself, but rather in its northern suburbs such as Concord, Huntersville and Mooresville. The latter city is the hometown of my good friend Don Miller, who as president of Penske Racing, oversaw construction of the team’s huge 400,000-square-foot shop in Mooresville. When it comes to performance, Charlotte is a hub, and now General Motors is adding its own weight to the landscape.
While it hasn’t disclosed an exact location yet, GM last week announced it intention to open a Charlotte Technical Center this summer that will initially be focused on motorsports technology, applicable to its NASCAR teams and to Cadillac’s racing effort in IMSA. GM’s plan is to locate in a new 75,000-square-foot center in Concord, just off Interstate 85 and right within reach of Charlotte Motor Speedway, which is also located in Corcord. Among the technologies based at the new center will be aids to research in aerodynamics, along with driver simulators and cells for research in fluid dynamics. How come this is happening? Because Charlotte, and its environs, are a rich source of technical talent that’s blossomed since the region became the hub of NASCAR team operations. This is a big deal, and a fascinating story.